No Keith Ford on the road in a conference road opener? No problem at all for Oklahoma.
The Sooners looked unfazed by the loss of their leading rusher by turning to true freshman Samaje Perine, who lived up to his nickname of “The Tank” running through the West Virginia defense to the tune of 242 yards and four scores in a 45-33 win. In many respects, the 5-foot-11, 243-pound back appeared to be a bigger version of Marshawn Lynch on the field as he ran over defenders and made life miserable for Mountaineers fans after a wild first half.
“I’m tired,” Perine told Fox after the game. “When Keith went down, I just had to step up and do my part.”
Perine came into the contest with 177 total yards for the Sooners and easily set career-highs for carries, yards, touchdowns and all-around play-making ability. In the process, he became the first freshman in the program to run for more than 200 yards in a game since Adrian Peterson had on the crimson and cream a decade ago.
In short, he put the “Boom” in Boomer Sooner on Saturday night.
Quarterback Trevor Knight didn’t have the best night statistically — just 205 yards and an interception — but was efficient behind center and even caught a touchdown pass early in the contest in the red zone.
Oklahoma really blew things open after going into halftime tied thanks to its defense, however. Mike Stoops’ unit continually harassed Mountaineers quarterback Clint Tricket into pressure throws and limited the team’s ground attack to just 3.4 yards a carry.
One major bright spot for Dana Holgorsen’s squad this season has been the emergence of wideout Kevin White, and he lived up to the advanced billing despite facing a tough matchup against OU’s Zach Sanchez. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown to continue his battle atop the NCAA stat boards with Alabama’s Amari Cooper.
No. 4 Oklahoma walked out of Morgantown with a key Big 12 win and its perfect record intact. The emergence of Perine as a reliable option out of the backfield should only enhance the team’s ability to win the Big 12 and make it to the College Football Playoff at the end of the season.